ALIKREUKELS is available in abundance in Buffeljagsbaai, and can be harvested sustainably, providing a much-needed source of income and work opportunities for the local community.
Sarah Niemand, one of the local leaders of Coastal Links South Africa (CLSA) in Buffelsjagsbaai, says that in her community this marine resource has been harvested in her community for a long time, and over time the community has developed great recipes on what can be done with the alikreukel.
“Now, all we want is for DAFF (Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries) to give us a permit to harvest the alikreukels commercially,” says Niemand.
She says that previously she worked with the late Zuki Nomwa from the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) to develop a pilot project to harvest alikreukels sustainably on a commercial scale.
This project however came to an abrupt end with the untimely passing of Zuki Nomwa, and that she would like to see the community restart the process of implementing a pilot project.
“Previously, we used to harvest the alikreukel on a recreational permit, which allows us to take out four alikreukels per day. We pickled and bottled it.”
This is fine, but, says Niemand is not economically and financially viable, since the four per day is too little for them to do anything with.
The other problem is that they cannot sell it, and that there are a lot of businesses like restaurants who are more than willing to buy the alikreukels.
“Should they buy the alikreukels from us, it would be illegal, since we do not have permits to sell the alikreukels to anyone.”
There are so many wonderful dishes that can be made with the alikreukel, and I am sure, the chefs of the restaurants who studied how to make food, would be able to create their own dishes.”
Besides making pickles with the alikreukel, Niemand says that they also make a nice frikkadel, and some other nice dishes, and, should they get the commercial right, as a community they will also consider developing some of the by-products of the alikreukel into some new products.
Niemand says that they can sustainably harvest between 20 and 50 tons of alikreukel a year, and would like DAFF to consider giving them such a permit.
Harvesting alikreukels require a low input, since it will only require of the harvesters to come with their knives to remove it from the rocks.
Other costs would be for storage and processing, should they decide to put up their own storage facilities.
Niemand says that as a community they have already raised this issue with DAFF and awaits the next round of allocation of rights to see if the alikreukel will be included.
She says that there are people and organisations that will be willing to help them once the right is allocated to them.
A lot of help will be needed once they get the right, for instance, how to set up and manage the business.
“We will also need to get training on knowing the alikreukel, how to identify a male and a female, and other aspects on how to make sure that we harvest sustainably.”